“The future of WordPress themes”, what do you think?

Ian Stewart (ThemeShaper) has compiled a collection of responses from 15 WordPress theme developers in response to the question: "What is the future of WordPress themes?" My response to the question challenged the idea of distribution & updates vs. design and new adoption:

[…] I hope for a major push in the distribution model to better benefit the end user. WordPress 2.7 introduced a major convenience milestone by introducing the ability to install and update plugins from within the Dashboard. When are users going to enjoy the same convenience with themes? And when are theme developers going to be able to push updates to users without having to rely on their own homegrown methods of updating users? Blog posts, RSS feeds, email newsletters, and Twitter updates can only go so far. Is this a distribution solution managed from WordPress.org, or can theme developers deploy updates directly from their own servers? Because anyone is free to distribute their own themes, the immediate challenge – of course – will revolve around the question of moderation. That in itself is an entirely different blog post.

The post includes answers from: Brian Gardner, Andrew Rickmann, Elliot Jay Stocks, Darren Hoyt, Nathan Rice, Joost De Valk, Jeff Chandler, Dougal Campbell, Andrea, Adii, Justin Tadlock, Ashley Morgan, Chris Pearson, and Alistar Cameron.

What do you think the future holds for WordPress themes?

Discuss - 7 Comments

  1. Caleb White says:

    I think the major hurdle with the push updates for themes is keeping the user made changes intact while still updating the theme. It will be plausible but I don’t know when we will see this in WordPress.. It would be a good start though to actually alert the site owner that their theme was updated. Could be a good challenge for the talent team at Automattic.

    • Derek says:

      The secret would be the adoption of child themes. E.g. Grid Focus / Unstandard users could add their modifications to the theme without actually modifying the core. Any updates would not effect customizations.

  2. In line with Derek’s comment, a system of child and parent themes is currently present on Drupal, so yeah it would be interesting to see something similar on WP.

    That said, in my experience building new themes for WP is way easier than it is for many competing platforms, and it would be a shame to lose that simplicity.

  3. Regina says:

    i think there should be more availability of different themes… for fickle minded people like us we like changing themes once in a while and we always like a new refreshing theme… like your gorgeous The Unstandard… 😀

  4. Chris says:

    Chris Pearson created a theme dubbed Thesis which allows for custom modifications to be made to the theme and keeps in tact all these custom edits into a single folder. The core files are left untouched and are capable of being updated without compromising any custom user edits. I think if he worked with the developers of WordPress they could actually make this theme updating system work.

    He charges for this theme, but it’s pretty revolutionary with it’s capabilities. I swear, I’ve never promoted anything like this before, but his theme is definitely worth a mention here.

    Check out his theme here: http://diythemes.com/?a_aid=hawsome

    • Yea right says:

      Thesis theme is nothing but marketing bullshit. It’s a scam for noobs who don’t know code and think they have to change their theme every few weeks/months. Go to http://www.wordpress.org/extend/themes (The official WordPress site), find a theme (all are free and legal and ad-free) and stick with it for 6-18 months until you REALLY get bored, then go look for another good theme or learn some code to introduce some of your own changes. BOYCOTT PAID AND PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEMES.

      The WordPress platform itself is free and open source. Why should you PAY to get “premium” content on a platform developed for FREE by other (unselfish and not-greedy) developers.

  5. A. says:

    After having spent the last two days going thru WP templates (free as things are difficult for us financially right now) I was hard hard pressed to find any Christian or Bible related themes. Have you designers forgotten about us?!? Good grief! I know it is not the most popular, but I think I only found one! Is it me?

    Please do direct me if anyone has found any…I did find one.

    I also went looking for a pair of hands (for two websites: Hands of Christ Ministries, and Palms Springs Massage)…

    Keep us christians in mind…=)